Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption

Started by Sleepless, September 06, 2013, 02:08:09 PM

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Great read. Fan of the hyperlinks, as well.  How much of this expansion was brought by the streaming binge's boost to documentary, I wonder?

Really engrossing, and as jenkins said thorough. Especially given Newman's past consulting with the publication on a short in the early phases of these moves. It definitely feels to me that there should be transparency to the Anonymous Content affiliation, and that the affiliation itself makes for an interesting subject that could be parsed out through guest columns.


To be clear, that originated from Bryan Newman's mailing list. I just reproduced it (links included).


Universal, AMC Theatres Forge Historic Deal Allowing Theatrical Releases to Debut on Premium VOD Early

Universal Pictures and AMC Theatres have put aside a bitter feud and signed a multi-year agreement that will allow the studio's films to premiere on premium video on-demand within three weeks of their theatrical debuts.

The pact, sure to send shockwaves throughout the exhibition industry, has the potential to reshape the ways that movies are marketed and distributed. Rival studios are likely to begin pushing for exhibitors to grant them more flexibility when it comes to determining when and how their theatrical releases can make their way onto home entertainment platforms.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. However, in a statement, AMC's CEO Adam Aron said the company will "share in these new revenue streams," which means that it will get a cut of any money made on these digital rentals. Universal only has the ability to put its movies on premium on-demand, meaning the rentals that go for roughly $20 a pop. It cannot sell films or rent them for lower on-demand fees, in the $3 to $6 range, until three months after they debut in cinemas.

Even though Universal, under this new agreement, could theoretically debut the next "Jurassic World" or "Fast & Furious" installments on premium on-demand with 17 days of their debut, they will likely have longer exclusive runs in cinemas. Instead, the studio has the option to capitalize on its new freedom with mid-budget fare, comedies, and horror movies that might not have as robust runs in cinemas. But if smaller movies perform better than expected on the big screen, Universal can wait to put it digital rental services. On its upcoming slate, Universal also has "Minions: The Rise of Gru," "Halloween Kills" with Jamie Lee Curtis and spy thriller "355" with Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz and Lupita Nyong'o.

The deal culminates a period of hostilities between the studio and the world's largest theater chain, a chill in relations that began after AMC vowed to stop showing Universal's movies after the studio decided last spring to unveil "Trolls World Tour" simultaneously on digital platforms and in the few theaters still open during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, both sides made nice, with Universal praising the viability of the big screen and AMC hailing the decision as a sign of its willingness to innovate.

"The theatrical experience continues to be the cornerstone of our business," said Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. "The partnership we've forged with AMC is driven by our collective desire to ensure a thriving future for the film distribution ecosystem and to meet consumer demand with flexibility and optionality."

For his part, Aron said, "Focusing on the long-term health of our industry, we would note that just as restaurants have thrived even though every home has a kitchen, AMC is highly confident that moviegoers will come to our theaters in huge numbers in a post-pandemic world. As people enjoy getting out of their homes, we believe the mystical escape and magical communal experience offered at our theaters will always be a compelling draw, including as it does our big screens, big sound and big seats not to mention the alluring aroma of our perfectly prepared popcorn."

For years, Universal and other studios have pushed to shrink the window, industry parlance for the period of time between a film's theatrical release and its debut on home entertainment. Traditionally, that frame of exclusivity has lasted for 90 days, which theater owners have maintained is critical to prevent customers from opting to skip cinemas and wait until a film is available in their homes. But studios have griped that those terms are onerous. They maintain that movies make most of their box office revenues in the first few weeks of release and waiting three months to debut films on-demand and across other platforms requires them to spend more money to advertise them and re-familiarize the public.

However, COVID-19 has altered the power dynamics in the relationship between studios and theaters. The bulk of cinemas in the United States remain closed due to the virus, and plans for a large-scale national reopening have been delayed again and again as cases surge in the South and and on the West Coast. Theaters don't have the leverage they once did and are looking for ways to make money at a time when it's not clear if customers feel safe going to cinemas.

At the same time, Universal has found continued financial success with its strategy to bypass theaters at a time when most of the country is still staying home. On-demand platforms have been booming during the pandemic, and Universal estimated that five million people rented "Trolls World Tour" in its first few weeks, generating roughly $100 million in sales. Empowered by those figures, it also debuted the Judd Apatow comedy "King of Staten Island" on premium on-demand this summer and has put movies such as "Emma," a Jane Austen adaptation from its indie label Focus, on-demand after their releases were truncated by coronavirus closures.

In the past, Universal has perhaps been the most aggressive in pushing the limits of the theatrical release window and has tried to find ways to offer its movies to home entertainment consumers earlier, running afoul of the exhibition community with its aborted plans to offer the Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy comedy "Tower Heist" on-demand within weeks of its 2011 debut. In that case, Universal backed down after theaters threatened to stop showing its films.

In the coming weeks, the two companies will begin discussions surrounding international distribution agreements in the countries in Europe and the Middle East served by AMC.

As cinemas nationwide have struggled to reopen, AMC has been saddled with concerns of its liquidity. Even before the pandemic caused its locations to close for four months, the company was heavily indebted due to expensive refurbishments of its venues and deals to acquire rivals like Odeon and Carmike Cinemas. At one point, AMC looked on the verge of filing for bankruptcy, but it recently renegotiated terms of its debt that helped clean up its balance sheet.


Tomorrow, Miranda July's
will drop on Dropbox, and its distribution will be handled by fans thru THEIR social media accounts.

Ok here’s a plan. Tomorrow we release the Kajillionaire trailer — and when I say we, I mean you and me.

Usually when a new movie comes out various VIPs and “tastemakers” are enlisted to announce and promote the movie, help make it special. (I’m always honored to when someone asks me to do this, especially if it’s a fellow woman director.)

But that was back when there was a usually. Guess who has made things special for me the last few months? The 189k people following this account. So I asked @focusfeatures if we could put the trailer in a dropbox and give it to you, my IG followers, to announce. They said, "Ummm, that's never been done before, we'll get back to you on that." Then, because they are cool and because frankly there is no rulebook for how to release a movie in a pandemic, they wrote back and said, “Let’s do it.”

So here’s how it’s going to go: at 8am PST tomorrow (11am EST / 4pm BST) a new link will appear in my bio. This will have a dropbox with the trailer in it and instructions on how to share it via IGTV. I know many of you are not in the US and that’s ok! This movie is coming out all over the world.

I'm promoting Kajillionaire this way because the normal systems are falling apart and it’s scary and hard to know where to put your faith. My instinct is to put it in lots and lots of smaller communities. So this is both a practical experiment and a symbolic gesture: I think this is where we are headed and what will sustain us. Each other, inventing. ( just try things as a form of living.)


Federal Judge Approves Termination Of Paramount Consent Decrees
August 7, 2020

A federal judge has given the green light to Justice Department to terminate the 71-year-old consent decrees that have restricted major studio control over the exhibition process.

The lifting of the decrees will clear the way for studios to once again take significant ownership of theater chains, now in dire straits because of the pandemic. But more importantly for the industry, the elimination of the decrees means that studios and exhibitors will be allowed to engage in a host of business practices that have been prohibited since the late 1940s.

"Because changes in antitrust law and administration have diminished the importance of the Decrees' restrictions, while still providing protections that will keep the probability of future violations low, the Court finds that termination of the Decrees is in the public interest," wrote U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in a ruling issued on Friday. Read it here.

Under the plan to terminate the decrees, restrictions on block booking and circuit dealing will remain in place over a two-year sunset period. Block booking is the practice in which theaters have to take a package of movies in one license. Circuit dealing is the practice of demanding a single license that covers all theaters in a circuit.

The judge agreed with the Justice Department's opinion that the decrees, which had a major role in forcing the end of the studio system in Hollywood's golden age, were outdated in a time of technological change. Torres wrote that "seventy years of technological innovation, new competitors and business models, and shifting consumer demand have fundamentally changed the industry."

She also noted that some of the studios who are bound by the decrees — RKO, MGM, Warner Bros., Paramount and Fox — no longer exist. Others, like The Walt Disney Co., didn't have their own distribution operations in place at the time yet are now major players.

"None of the internet streaming companies—Netflix, Amazon, Apple and others—that produce and distribute movies are subject to the Decrees," she wrote. "Thus, the remaining Defendants are subject to legal constraints that do not apply to their competitors." She wrote that distributors who were not subject to the decrees have "shown no propensity to acquire major movie theater circuits or engage in the type of collusive practices the Decrees targeted."

She also accepted the Justice Department's argument that existing antitrust law will be effective deterrence against anticompetitive practices.

"Antitrust laws, and their faithful enforcement, weigh in favor of the Court's finding that there is a low likelihood of a potential future violation absent the Decrees," she wrote. In another example, Torres noted that merger laws have changed since the decrees were put in place. A 1976 statute requires parties to larger transactions to notify federal antitrust agencies so they can conduct a review before a deal closes.

The National Association of Theater Owners warned of ending the decrees and the impact it would have on consolidation of the exhibition business, while independent theaters argued that "nothing in existing antitrust law comes close to the elegance and power of the 'theater-by-theater on the merits' mandate that forms the heart of the Paramount Consent Decrees. Tens of thousands of Americans have enjoyed big-screen entertainment solely because of that mandate."

The Directors Guild of America also opposed the DOJ's move, arguing that the changes in the business required greater antitrust oversight.

A spokesperson for NATO said in a statement, "The Paramount Decrees were a remedy fashioned for extreme, anticompetitive behavior in the movie industry.  We agree with the Court that anticompetitive behavior remains anticompetitive under existing antitrust law. This decision simply shifts the mechanism for enforcement into regular, existing channels."

Makan Delrahim, the chief of the DOJ's Antitrust Division, said in a statement, "As the Court points out, Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and It's a Wonderful Life were the blockbusters when these Decrees were litigated; the movie industry and how Americans enjoy their movies have changed leaps and bounds in these intervening years.  Without these restraints on the market, American ingenuity is again free to experiment with different business models that can benefit consumers."

The decrees were the end result of more than a decade of litigation after the Justice Department in 1938 first filed suit to challenge a studio monopoly on distribution and exhibition. A Supreme Court decision in favor of the government in 1948 led to the series of consent decrees, starting with Paramount in 1949. In addition to forcing studios to divest their theater chains, the decrees restricted a host of business practices. They included not just block booking and circuit dealing but setting minimum prices on theater tickets and granting exclusive film licenses over specific geographic areas.


I genuinely haven't looked into what it is but I noticed wilder mentioned tubi and I just heard about tubi because velvet vampire is there



it was a marginal cult thing that was regionally bolstered by a 2020 new bev screening and now it's supplanted Humanoids from the Deep as an example of an impressive genre movie from a female director


Awards-Screener Streaming Apps Considering Filmmaker Mode Support
The Hollywood Reporter

Filmmaker Mode, a setting on select TVs unveiled this week at CES, is aimed at preserving filmmakers' creative intent and is championed by leading filmmakers including Martin Scorsese.

Support for "Filmmaker Mode" — a setting on select TVs, including some featured this week during the virtual CES, aimed at preserving filmmakers' creative intent and championed by leading filmmakers including Martin Scorsese and Ryan Coogler — is being considered by apps that stream awards season screeners, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The goal is to assist voters watching movies at home to see them more closely as the filmmakers intended — a topic that has become more pressing as the pandemic has made such streaming options a necessity.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that informal discussions in the community got started, as Filmmaker Mode was developed by UHD Alliance — a coalition whose members include Hollywood studios as well as consumer electronics manufacturers — with the support of a long list of leading filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins, Rian Johnson and JJ Abrams. The setting is also endorsed by the Directors Guild of America, the American Society of Cinematographers, the International Cinematographers Guild and Scorsese's The Film Foundation.

Having heard from stakeholders, UHDA has started to consider the potential of using Filmmaker Mode with one undisclosed awards body and intends to reach out to others that may be interested, confirmed UHDA chair Michael Zink.

Filmmaker Mode is effectively a setting for consumer UHD TVs that disables post processing such as motion smoothing with an aim of giving consumers the opportunity to view content in the way that the filmmakers intended, including with the original aspect ratio, color and frame rates. It was first announced in 2019 for select 2020 TV models.

As to implementation with screeners, Zink suggests the easiest option may be to use it with a screening app that runs native on a Filmmaker Mode-supported TV. "The app would still need to call the API to trigger the switching [to the Mode]," he says, adding though that that would not be difficult to do.

If the screening app runs on a streaming media player such as AppleTV or Roku, then the media player would need to send the signal to the TV via HDMI, something that he says is "fairly straightforward ... but requires an additional entity to work with." He adds that in either case,  viewers also have the option to manually switch into Filmmaker Mode on supported TVs. In both cases, no special version of the movie would be required by the studio, he explains.

This week at CES, set makers including LG and Samsung unwrapped new Filmmaker Mode-supported TV models. LG showed new OLED, QNED Mini LED and NanoCell TVs, while Samsung featured new MicroLED (available in 110-inch, 99-inch and 88-inch models) and Neo QLED 8K and 4K lines. Additionally, Panasonic offers Filmmaker Mode support in its 2021 OLED models, including its newly announced flagship JZ2000.


Cinedigm Acquires Fandor, Will Expand Film Streaming Service With Free Tier

Cinedigm has acquired Fandor, a 10-year-old streaming home for independent films, and plans to update and expand its offerings with a goal of acquiring millions of subscribers.

The company will relaunch Fandor later this year by tapping its own library of 7,000 related film titles, including from internet television service and vintage film archive The Film Detective. In a press release announcing the deal, Cinedigm said it "anticipates the service could reach seven-figure subscriber levels within the next 24-30 months with a focus on rapid global expansion and distribution."

Fandor, which was run at various points in its history by noted film and TV industry executives Larry Aidem and Ted Hope, has an eclectic, global library 4,600 film titles from more than 400 film companies.

Cinedigm will continue to offer an ad-free, premium version of Fandor but also plans to add a free, ad-supported on-demand tier as well as a linear streaming channel in order to broaden its reach.

After the acquisition, Cinedigm also plans to relaunch Keyframe, Fandor's web and video-based publication dedicated to the art of cinema. Phil Hopkins, president of The Film Detective, will oversee Fandor and Keyframe.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The news lifted shares in Cinedigm 15% in mid-day trading on the Nasdaq, to their highest point since last August.

Led by former Hollywood studio executive Chris McGurk, Cinedigm has evolved in recent years from a maker of cinema equipment to a provider of streaming services and owner-operator of a portfolio of branded streaming networks. It is controlled by China-based Bison Capital.

"This acquisition of Fandor, coming on the heels of our Film Detective acquisition, solidifies Cinedigm's position as the leading global streaming company for independent films," McGurk said. "As a key element of our recently announced streaming rollup strategy, Fandor will immediately benefit from our streaming distribution muscle, huge library of independent films, Matchpoint technology, cost savings and infrastructure and synergies with our wide portfolio of enthusiast streaming channels. We fully expect an immediate EBITDA uplift from Fandor and strong revenue and profit growth going forward."

"The paradox of the streaming revolution is that it has never been harder to discover classic, essential and new independent and foreign films," said Erick Opeka, Chief Strategy Officer and President of Cinedigm Networks. "The founders of Fandor had the right idea, launching very early in the streaming growth cycle while still establishing a strong and resilient brand and viewer base. Our mission at Cinedigm is to enable viewers, including independent film enthusiasts, to stream their passions, and I can't think of a streaming service that is truer to our mission than Fandor."

"The opportunity to leverage Fandor's passionate community of independent film enthusiasts will be integral in the service's growth," Hopkins said. "Being able to communicate and collaborate with this community of content creators, bloggers, and editorial writers will allow us to significantly expand Fandor into the global focal point for streaming independent films, documentaries, classics and foreign films."


Can social media creators make movies? This local startup is banking on it

QuoteA new local startup, Creator+, aims to tap into that potential, offering to finance and distribute movies produced, directed or starring promising video creators, including those who are active on video platforms such as YouTube.

The company, which is based in Culver City and San Francisco, plans to greenlight more than six films this year and release them on its platform in early 2022, with budgets in the low seven figures. Downstream revenue generated from the films will be split with creators 50-50, the company said.

QuoteConsumers who wish to see the films will go to the Creator+ platform and pay to see each movie. The company did not reveal pricing and said it would be in line with what a movie ticket costs. Creator+ also is looking at working with creators on other kinds of audience interaction through merchandise, consumer products or other types of digital goods and experiences.

The company will probably shy away from big-budget action films but are open to other genres, including adult romantic comedies or dramas, Shambroom said.

My first reaction is a shudder of skepticism and revulsion, but you never know, I guess...


movie length reality tv

they have Cary grant but they're missing ben Hecht


Robert Schwartzman discussing Utopia and Altavod on the latest episode of The Bret Easton Ellis Podcast: